Horizon 2020: Capturing the public’s view of nanotechnology

24. Aug. 2015

Some editorial thoughts on the project NanOpinion -- based on an interview with ZSI expert Katharina Handler.

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Nanotechnology has become part of daily life – be it in stain-repellent fabrics, sunscreens or hundreds of other applications. But what do people actually know about nanotech? And how do they feel about it? The EU-funded project NanOpinion found people to be positive in principle and used its findings to formulate policy recommendations.

Entering a dialogue about nanotechnologies with people from all over Europe was at the heart of the NanOpinion project. The project took a varied, broad approach: one tactic saw teams travelling to city squares, shopping centres, libraries and festivals in 18 countries across Europe. There, they engaged people in experiments and discussions around nanotech and asked them to fill in an extensive questionnaire to learn more about their knowledge as well as their stance on nanotech.

At the same time, NanOpinion organised 20 workshops, debates and other live events. All in all, a total of 8 330 people filled in the questionnaire. Roughly 15 000 citizens participated in events. Over 1 500 students took part in school activities, while teachers had the chance to follow workshops. In addition, NanOpinion posts on social media reached thousands of users, while the media partners carried out a mass media campaign, broadcasting radio programmes and publishing newspaper supplements and 161 articles that reached hundreds of thousands of listeners and readers....

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Tags: nanotechnology, science communication